Made In Heights is the combined product of vocalist Kelsey Bulkin and producer Alexei Saba, aka Sabzi. Their collaborative work is cerebral and challenging, yet always rewards the listener with memorable hooks and unique narratives. If their name speaks symbolically for their music, then many of Made In Heights’ tracks can be read as heavily polished, well cared-for pop songs with complex, internal messages. Bulkin’s quiet, concerned emotions pour out of previous singles “Murakami” and “Pirourette”, and the percussion that surrounds her stories gently guides the listener into a perspective that looks out at the world from a very specific coordinate. Sonically, Sabzi creates percussive melodies that are somewhere in between alternative hip-hop and moody R&B.
Surprisingly, the duo’s newest single swivels dramatically in a more extroverted direction. While Bulkin’s lyrics are still idiosyncratically concerned with personal reflection, “Ghosts” finds Made In Heights brightening the melody with a staccato rhythm and a glowing hum of synthesizer. The rattles and clicks that initiate the track represent the songs formal interest in embodying a dance track, yet also directly personify the song’s nervous, yet hopeful mood. Bulkin’s monologue splits between two poles as well; she’s equally focused on self-care and the hard work of fostering a relationship with someone else. The power of “Ghosts” exists in Made In Height’s creation of these powerful antinomies. When we look through the eyes of a song, there’s more to see than a simple story described by words. Sabzi and Bulkin’s collaboration find a balance between all elements that make up their music, and the result is something thoughtful and quietly revelatory.
K Records have come a long way from their first 20 cassette releases. Over the course of 30+ years, a small, localized scene evolved into the highly influential label it is today. While the roster has expanded to include such prominent acts as Atlas Sound, the DIY attitude persists, and—as evidenced by Ruby Fray’s latest release, “Barbara”—some of K Records’ original sound exists in their contemporary artists.
Specifically, “Barbara” brings to mind the now indie-famous guitar riff of “Indian Summer”—the quintessential song by the quintessential K Records band. “Barbara” is carried along by a similar, jangling repetition. Atmospherically, however, its miles away from the work of Beat Happening. Layers of droning guitar feedback bring to mind the tension of Yo La Tango’s “Damage,” but disrupting any comparisons are Ruby Fray’s vocals. Ruby Fray creator, Emily Beanblossom, sings with folk-esque vocal inflections, unusual in such noisy, reverb-laden music as this.
Unusual sonic choices, contradictions, and eeriness permeate this track; the result is a refreshingly original piece of art: idiosyncratic and beautiful. Give “Barbara” a listen and await a promising record from Ruby Fray, out September 30th.
There’s alot of buzz surrounding Tycho‘s next release, his second LP for Ghostly International titled Awake. For those who follow this blog closely (or any indie music blog for that matter), surely you’ve heard the first single from this album that shares the same name (it was #1 on our list of top 10 electronic tracks of 2013). “Montana” is the second single released from this album, and with it we get to hear more so than ever before the evolution of Tycho from the solo project that it has been for the last 10 years to the three-piece band that it has become. The track features a heavy focus on drums and guitar melodies that weave in and out of the track eventually building to a satisfying apex, effectively elevating this album to the status over hear at Newdust of the most anticipated 2014 has in store for us (we’re pretty huge fanboys). The album is slotted to drop on March 18th, and you can pre-order your copy right now at the Ghostly International site.
The original chillwaver is back with his brand new album Paracosm out on Sub Pop officially as of yesterday. The album’s first single, “It All Feels Right,” has a vibe that brings us back to Washed Out‘s Life of Leisure sound; the breakthrough moment that defined Ernest Greene as the trendsetter of the chillwave movement. And although chillwave is not the buzz genre that it used to be, Greene rises above long forgotten imitators who have come and gone over the past 3 years to prove that he’s still relevant while holding on to the trademarks of the sound he helped create without being redundant and cliche. Check out the single below, sun-drenched in the typical warm nostalgia and good vibes we’ve come to expect from Washed Out over the years (as if I really had to tell you that).
Check Outfit, out today with their debut full length LP, Performance. The band exists somewhere between the electronic cadences of Cut Copy and the droning samples of The Beta Band. Listen up below, grab the record HERE and enjoy…